August 4, 2013
One of the lessons learned during Superstorm Sandy was how difficult it is to stay informed once the storm has hit. Many of us lost power for days, even weeks, and had no idea of where to go to charge our phones, replenish water containers, or find bathrooms. Not everyone was aware of the Red Cross shelter at the high school, and so it was underutilized. The East Hampton library didn’t lose power and welcomed everyone who needed help.
I’m told that almost 200 people were charging their phones and logging onto the Internet the day of the storm, and 1,400 people sought shelter there the day after the storm. There are other resources in the community that can be utilized as well.
Along with death and taxes, we can count on the certainty that there will be more storms in our future and they will be bigger and badder because of climate change. It occurred to me that creating and distributing printed information in advance of weather events that identify shelters and local facilities which have generators and would welcome the public would be extremely useful. With this in mind, a committee comprised of citizens from the various hamlets was formed: the Citizens Emergency Preparedness Task Force. We went to work gathering information and in cooperation with the town’s emergency coordinator, Bruce Bates, created a pamphlet that will soon be distributed to the public. We expect that it will be very helpful to those who lose power and seek guidance as to where to find shelter.
The most heartening part of this experience for me is the energy and dedication of all of the members of this committee.
Never Not Interesting
New York City
July 30, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Thank you for your obituary of Miriam Ungerer. Your good words would have meant a lot to my dear friend.
Miriam’s column and The Star were very important in her life. If I was visiting when she was on deadline, she would say, “You’ll have to get your own lunch today. I have to write my column.” Miriam giving up control of her kitchen? Even for a ham on rye? Gad! Of course, if she had made the sandwich, she would have added a little delicious something extra.
Miriam was never not interesting. How could I not love a friend who never bored me? And in a few graphs, you brought her back to me, in brief.
I appreciate your sending the entire paper. It is impressive how fully and well you continue to serve your readers.
A Well-Kept Secret
August 3, 2013
As Guild Hall closes its celebration of the annual Artists and Writers softball feud, and the latest game day approaches, it’s high time someone did full disclosure on an overly well-kept Hamptons secret.
To wit: Leif Hope, known to all as the steady heart behind this annual spectacular of celebrity fund-raising, also happens to be a brilliant painter. His single modest sea-landscape stole the whole Guild Hall show, in my estimation, and gave compelling, beautiful evidence of his formidable talent as an artist.
I wish he would show the world more of his work.
As for his skills on the diamond; not so great. I played (LF) against him in several games in the ’70s, and can report that, both at the plate and in the field, he’s a gifted and devoted event organizer.
Yes, he throws like a painter.
An Exciting Evening
August 4, 2013
Congratulations to the Montauk Playhouse Community Center Foundation. My wife and I attended the gala on Saturday night and it was an exciting evening.
It was obvious how much the community and the foundation members care about the center. When I was serving as East Hampton Town Clerk in 2000-2001 I remember the many town board work sessions the foundation members attended outlining their vision for the playhouse. The town board listened to all of the proposals, from knocking the building down to the plans for the renovation. After many months, the board agreed to the renovation project, and, as they say, the rest is history.
Shark’s Eye Success
August 5, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
In response to the unsustainable number of sharks killed every year to satisfy the demand for shark fin soup in the Asian market, recently a precedent-setting fishing tournament occurred at the Montauk Marine Basin that has far-reaching impact for the fishing community in general as well as Montauk and the Town of East Hampton.
April Gornik and I have had this event as a glimmer in our eye for several years and its success is overwhelming.
Shark tournaments are typically a bloody event. Sharks are caught and brought back to the dock to be weighed. They are dead by that time. Once weighed, except for the few sharks that are edible, they are typically finned and discarded. This new tournament format eliminates that, while still allowing tournament participants to compete and win. An amazing result of Shark’s Eye was universal agreement that this new format is fun and competitive and can attract wide participation — possibly replacing the old shark tournament format in the future.
There are countless other people to thank including the sponsors, volunteers, and participants, but I’d like to call out a few specifically. I’d like to express my sincerest thanks and gratitude to key participants: Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, scientists Greg Skomal and Nancy Kohler, the OCEARCH Global Shark Tracker Network, the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, and Sean and Brooks Paxton, “The Shark Brothers.” Their support was incredible.
The dedication of tournament host Carl Darenberg at Montauk Marine Basin and second-generation Montauk charter boat captain Michael Potts was extraordinary. Their efforts to organize and manage the event were key to our success.
And I’d like to specifically single out April Gornik, a staunch supporter and tireless advocate of this event from its inception. She is an artist of the ocean with much more than her brush — her heart!
Thank you all.
Concerned Citizens of Montauk
The Important Call
August 5, 2013
I have been phoning old folks every Thursday morning for nearly 20 years. I and my colleagues are the volunteers in the RSVP program, a national organization aimed at aiding the senior community, particularly those who are alone. We call, and by the sound of their voices we have, over time, come to know, sense, whether everything is okay and if not, chat to find out if they need help or advice. Mostly, though, we gossip a little, tell a story, or talk about the weather. For some of them it is the most important call of the day.
I encourage seniors who read this letter, and, more important, their sons and daughters, to enroll their loved ones in this program. It is fun to be called, it can be the source of friendship, and sometimes it can be a means to receive critical help in the case of medical issues. The volunteers are trained to have at their fingertips the telephone numbers of the local services, e.g., medical, police, etc., needed to meet any emergency in a timely fashion.
Giovanni is Found
August 5, 2013
To the Editor,
Runaway Italian greyhound finally found after seven and a half hours of searching!
On Friday at 9:15 a.m. our beloved Italian greyhound, who was going to the East Hampton Veterinary Group for a routine dental cleaning, bolted from the parking lot, headed east on Route 27 toward Main Street into the village.
The pursuit for him began. It took a village and a township of East Hampton to find him. I would like to share with you how after seven and a half hours he was finally found.
My husband and I took both cars and by keeping close contact via cellphone we began our search. We tried to cover different routes that he might have taken. We both stopped as many people as possible asking if they had seen him running by. Everyone we stopped was wonderful and lots of people had great ideas on what to do to help find him.
The very first woman I stopped in front of Guild Hall suggested that I post an announcement on East Hampton Patch, which is a popular Web site. This woman said, “I am going home and I will do it for you.” This was very helpful. We then contacted Heather Dunn-Kostura at Animal Control. I also contacted the East Hampton Police Department, who said they would put an alert out. They then contacted the fire department. I then contacted WLNG radio station 92.1 FM, who after 11 a.m. started announcing a missing Giovanni and who to call if he was seen.
All of the people who were stopped and questioned were so wonderful and compassionate and genuinely concerned about Giovanni.
The calls started to come in shortly after. He was spotted by the Suffolk County National Bank on Pantigo Road. Then we received a call from a gentleman who saw him running on Middle Lane. Our wonderful friends took it upon themselves to jump in their cars and start looking for him. At around 11 a.m. Randy and Maggie looked for a few hours and then at around 4 p.m. Marty started looking. By this time we were so grateful to everyone and so positive that he would be found.
At around 6 p.m. Chris from the fire department called us and said that he was seen on Further Lane and was contained in someone’s yard nearby. We drove by and he was gone.
The final call we received was from two women who saw him running down Middle Lane toward Cross Highway. Our heroines are Pam and Missy. They were driving and saw him running. Pam, a runner and volunteer for ARF, jumped out of the car and with no shoes on ran after Giovanni and captured him. He, I know in my heart, must have been so delighted to be in a woman’s arms and to be spoken to with a gentle voice. He was exhausted, thirsty, and hungry. We were called shortly after and drove over. To our delight our beloved Giovanni was found, safe and sound.
Thank you all for your help in finding Giovanni.
DINA VAMVAKIS and
August 4, 2013
A few months ago Paul Fiondella and I presented eight precepts for bicycle safety and planning at a work session of the East Hampton Village Board. They were received with genuine interest. A village bike committee was formed, and after one meeting the precepts with just one minor change were presented back to the board.
On July 31 at a formal board meeting they were placed on the agenda and passed unanimously. We were grateful by the mannerly way this was handled by the village board, and so pleased by their forward thinking. In the intervening time the precepts were received with approval by the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee and passed unanimously by the East Hampton Town Bicycle Advisory Committee.
At this present time each member of the town board has received a copy of the precepts and a brief explanatory history. Paul and I have asked to be placed on the next town board work session agenda. If the town board will approve them, they could be the very beginning local nexus of biking from dysfunction to order, from risk to safety, planning, and education.
HOWARD JOHN LEBWITH
The Worst Traffic
August 5, 2013
Every year I hear so many people say, “This year is the worst traffic I’ve ever seen.” To wit I reply, “Don’t we say that every year?”
But this year is vastly different‚ simply because it’s true!
I have a theory.
My theory is that over the past few years‚ since the Great Recession‚ these rental Web sites have been coming east like the brown tide.
When consumer spending was at the lowest rates since the Great Depression, our tenant demographics were a mixed bag of international as well as the usual New York City crew. Tenants from all four corners were bargain hunting. It was clear, though, spending the entire summer in Manhattan was not an option.
That sentiment remains!
People got real creative when money was tight. We saw two families share a home, multiple people splitting off weeks, monthly rentals take the lion’s share versus full-season rentals.
And for the first time, we saw a demand for weekly rentals. Real estate brokers would attempt to explain that weekly rentals are nonexistent out here.
Then came the brown tide. The rentals sites took over, and weekly rentals now abound.
What does that mean?
To the tenant: You pick your week or two, and hopefully you get nice weather‚ then it’s over‚ bye bye!
To the landlord: You turn over your keys to one of your most valuable possessions for a fraction of what it’s worth and pray they take good care of it.
And you’re back there every week or two to clean, inspect, and repair and hope it’s ready for the next rental.
Oh, and remember those difficult security deposit conversations. Now you have multiples of same.
To brokers: your rental income is reduced, but when you look at the liability involved in these weeklies, you do the happy dance down Main Street. Further, rental income has always been a very small portion of your annual income, yet takes a tremendous toll on time, staff, and expense to generate.
To the hamlets of the East End: It’s an accident waiting to happen. To traffic: it’s a nightmare!
You know why? If these renters only have a week or two to get all their summer fun in, then they most certainly will invite their friends, family, and neighbors to join them for a few days — and everyone has their own car!
How we all long for the days when tenants wanted to rent their own place at the beach, with a rare occasional guest. That’s one family, one set of people, one or two cars, some weekends no one comes out and a few weekends maybe a friend or family come here. If the weather wasn’t great one weekend, so you don’t come out — there’s always next weekend. Less wear and tear on the homes, more a sense of responsibility. More relaxation and less traffic!
JUDI A. DESIDERIO
Chief Executive Officer
Town and Country Real Estate
Right Turn Only
July 30, 2013
To the Editor:
I cannot comprehend why the East Hampton Village Police Department has decided to enforce a right turn only rule at the north exit of the Reutershan parking lot on summer weekends.
This forces all cars exiting the lot toward two crosswalks (three, if you want to make a right turn on Main Street) and the busiest intersection in the village. Logic dictates that one should want to get vehicles away from this intersection and out of the village during summer weekends.
As there are always at least two traffic control officers stopping traffic to let people cross Newtown Lane by Waldbaum’s, there is no reason they could not allow cars to turn left and thereby reduce the traffic congestion in the village. It would, however, require them to stop chatting and concentrate on what they are supposed to be doing.
I have mentioned this problem to the mayor, the administrator, and the police chief, all of whom in true Bonac fashion have shrugged their shoulders. Perhaps it is time for logic to prevail.
A Parking Lot
July 29, 2013
To the Editor:
I was surprised to learn (“A Call to Ban Trucks at ‘Baby Beach,’ ” East Hampton Star, July 25) that the trustees had a discussion of trucks parked on Baby Beach in Maidstone recently. To my knowledge, there was no general notice to residents of the Maidstone Park area that such a discussion would take place, despite some mailing list notification made by the Springs Advisory Committee. Had I known, I and I am sure others of my neighbors would have been there. We too are very upset by the fact that this small, family-oriented, children’s beach (known as Baby Beach) has been turned into a parking lot. We want this practice stopped.
The Maidstone side of the mouth of Three Mile Harbor used to be a beautiful, small beach where families with children and adults gathered to sit on blankets or beach chairs, to swim in the shallow waters of the harbor, and to watch the boats going in and out of the harbor. Now the beach has become a parking lot, is seriously eroding, and its large dunes have been almost totally destroyed. You can no longer sit on the beach to watch the boats unless you want to sit in a parking lot. Nor can you see the water or the boats if you walk along the ring road or even if you drive your car along it.
This never used to be the case — no one parked on this narrow, small beach. This all started in 2009, when the town imposed a parking fee for town beaches on all residents. Residents had to pay to park on the road, but no one had to pay to drive on the beach. So people obtained free beach driving stickers and began to park all over Baby Beach, thereby avoiding the parking sticker fee. When the town rescinded the resident parking fee the next year, those who had begun parking on the beach did not bother to obtain a free parking sticker and just continued to park on the beach. And so a lovely, small, family-oriented beach became a parking lot with cars and trucks destroying the dunes and the beach, blocking views of the water, and ruining a very special part of Maidstone’s bay beaches. This must not be allowed to continue.
An Accident Waiting
July 30, 2013
To the Editor,
This morning at 8:30 I passed the Baby Beach at Maidstone Park and saw a sight to behold: a young family enjoying that beautiful, tiny, sandy beach. One young child was paddling in the water whilst the other wandered along the sand in search of jingle shells. Sadly, this is a rare sight, as pointed out on the front page of last week’s edition.
Although there is ample parking a few yards from the beach, this small stretch of sand has turned into a parking lot on most sunny days, with up to 10 trucks parked on the small beach. This is not a question of beach driving but parking, and, most important, safety. The Baby Beach was one of the few places where small children could play on a sandy beach safely. When our kids were toddlers it was an ideal place to go. Since the parking lot is very close to the beach, you didn’t have to haul all your gear far. The beach is sandy and the water calm and shallow, so you could let your kids happily play in the water and run around the beach without worrying about the rough ocean surf or uncomfortable pebbles.
This is no longer the case. Now you have to worry about your child running out of view and into the water behind one of the many trucks, or indeed being hit by a truck. I wouldn’t let my kids play in a parking lot and sadly this is what the beach has become. It is an accident waiting to happen.
I am not averse to beach driving and parking, but this is not the place, or at least a compromise must be reached whereby young families can enjoy it safely at certain times, free of the trucks.
Trucks and Toddlers
July 26, 2013
I continue to pose the question: What do the East Hampton Town Trustees do? Not enough, I think. The East Hampton Town Trustees have a vital mission. But they apparently get steamrolled by Town Hall and are forced to be reactive.
At a recent trustee meeting a constituent raised the issues of dirty beaches, and the awful possibility of truck-trampled toddlers at a beach where both trucks and toddlers are plentiful.
“Every beach has bottles and garbage.”— N. Miller.
“We need enforcement.” — D. McNally.
“Signage was wrong. Town Hall has not corrected it.” — J. Courtney Esq.
“The issue is about neighborliness.” — I. Barocas.
Really? The issue is: Grab some rakes and bags, put up sand fences to protect the babies, insist on a better response from Town Hall, hire a good P.R. firm.
All good things,
What’s Right and Wrong
August 5, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray:
Your editorial last week about the latest flap about the trustee beach on the east side of Three Mile Harbor inlet will undoubtedly raise some ire among both those who, by right, choose to drive on that beach — on any trustee beaches really — and those who don’t, and would stop them. Now that is an enviably balanced achievement.
Beach drivers and Americans have a peculiarly powerful relationship with their modes of transportation. But no more so than bicyclists in the Netherlands, walkers in the Highlands, cruising mariners, rail enthusiasts, frequent flyers (survivors?), ski tourists in the Alps, canoeists in the Amazon, in fact anyone who goes anywhere, any way they choose. As with sailing as opposed to power-boating, even SCUBA, all of which I enjoy out of all proportion to reason, it’s not about getting there as much as being there. And we are all here, together.
However powerful the relationship one may have with a cherished truck, or in my case a 25-year-old lovingly beat-up Chevy Nova, no one thinks looking at something with wheels, saving perhaps my car-mad nearly 6-year-old grandson, is comparable to an unspoiled marine vista. But the debate isn’t about what’s aesthetic; rather it is about what’s right and wrong.
Since I’ve been chosen to run for town trustee I have tried to make clear to East Hampton voters that the town trustees are their true and historical representatives, guardians of citizens’ rights of free access to our beaches, waterways, and bottomlands, now and into the future. In some cases, it is working. (I finally met Diana Walker last week, and we were able to share a good laugh.) In others, maybe most of us, the trustees’ role in East Hampton’s life is still neither clear nor appreciated.
Your editorial, and my own call for neighborliness, as reported by Christopher Walsh at the last trustee meeting, and the really lowlife targeting of Nat Miller, as earnest and hardworking a trustee as imaginable, reported last week, underscore your contention that things are changing here. Hearing the respected trustees clerk, Diane McNally, describe Nat’s troubles as the work of cowards, was completely apt. (For the record, I’m a political “blank,” running for trustee as a Democrat.)
Perhaps it is the dreaded Nassauification (with a respectful nod west), the slide from what was to suburbanization, or just the inevitable result of increasing population and heavily marketed popularity. From what I can tell, at least in about the last couple of centuries or so, and certainly since the railroad was extended in 1895, we are and have been living in a summer resort, with all of its joys and faults.
The Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonalty of East Hampton are as impartial an arm of government imaginable. They uphold all of our rights to share in this beautiful place and its bounty, and strive far out of proportion to their current powers or prestige to simply do what’s best for all of us. That “best” is defined by history, tradition and fairness, common sense and common decency, and a deep and abiding respect for East Hampton as it was. And thus it will be if we follow truly their example of caring for our lands and waterways, and treat ourselves, friends, visitors, and our neighbors with the courtesy and respect which mark trustee meetings.
Just as your Star “shines for all,” our town trustees have since the beginning of East Hampton been the abiding conscience of what’s right about East Hampton, and why we are all, in fact, “local by choice,” after all. Born here, came here, what is the difference? It’s a choice we all make daily, especially in America, trucks on the beach or not. There are other places to go, other attractive places to live, but we don’t leave so long as we can stay. I’ve heard from many former residents who are away that they dream of returning, and often regret they have left. They live in beautiful places, but those places are not East Hampton. (I tell them to move back so they can vote for me. Just saying.)
Finally, a modest proposal that doesn’t include cannibalism. If you are able to cross the 50 feet of sand from the paved and ample parking anywhere, why not glory in that? Carrying stuff on multiple trips to your chair or blanket is a good justification to take in a few extra calories from cans or bottles, jugs or cartons. Hydrate! (And clean up after yourself.) On the other hand, if you are usually offended by a truck parked on the beach all day, there are other beaches really close by that prohibit it, particularly in the Springs at Maidstone on Gardiner’s Bay.
But most important, give each other, all of us, the benefit of a doubt. Don’t assume that beach drivers are lazy apes intent on destroying your afternoon and our beaches, nor that people who may want a water view without a caravan parked in front, and express concerns for kids’ safety, are all just whining dilettante elitists. (Reality check: some of both camps probably are; it’s a big world.)
We have the right to complain enshrined in our Constitution’s First Amendment. Considerably older than that document, we have the East Hampton Trustees’ guardianship of our right to free access to our beaches, to drive or park, to fish or not. Maybe we can all take comfort and pride in having and protecting those rights; and, at the same time, we need not exercise them quite so aggressively, just because. Out east, surrounded by water, we’re all in the same boat.
And, let’s keep the “U” prominent in Trustee. Elect me, Capt. Ira Barocas, as your town trustee.
August 3, 2013
Your Aug. 1 editorial said in part, “noise in general, noisy leaf blowers, illegally overcrowded houses, the expansion of nighttime watering holes, traffic, the airport[s], Montauk’s going to hell in a handbasket.” Most of these problems could be remediated to some extent if there were fewer visitors staying here illegally. These people don’t come for only a day — if they did there would also be traffic jams westbound on Friday and Saturday nights. Since these problems began, there have not been new motels built. Where are they staying?
The problems stated in your editorial exist because we permit illegal rentals, group homes, shares, etc.
I believe that our code enforcement officers work hard. Obviously, more officers would help, but that would also increase our taxes. Why not enlist residents to help? If a code enforcement officer made one visit and that report was backed up by statements and pictures by several taxpayers, would that not suffice to bring in a guilty verdict?
This plus more severe penalties for repeat offenders could make the summer of 2015 better than what we have in 2013 or expect in 2014.
Share House Problem
August 3, 2013
To the Editor:
I wonder if the town and village could impose a requirement on real estate agents and any property owner renting out a house to include the relevant town code language in all residential leases, both long and short term? I think that might be a beginning to finding a solution to the share house problem, both seasonal and year round.
Real estate agents and many owners will never make these restrictions clear unless somehow legally required to do so. The presence of such language in the lease itself might well make the organizers of such share houses think very carefully about proceeding, as a violation could then lead to a cancellation of the lease and an eviction.
Further, the realities of this area as a weekend haven for large numbers of people suggest that the town and the village should provide inspectors who work on the weekends, and also in the evening hours, which I suspect they currently do not.
Very Real Threat
August 2, 2013
To the Editor:
I sympathize with the residents who are being tortured by ridiculously loud leaf blowers. My experience dealing with this issue at my primary residence in Stamford, Conn., might be of interest.
Stamford has a noise ordinance with decibel-level restrictions that essentially make the use of leaf blowers illegal, but, as I found out, it was impossible to get the law enforced by the police department. Talking with the offending landscapers was pointless — without enforcement, they couldn’t care less what the law said. I also spent a lot of time talking with town government, which went nowhere.
It was very frustrating, I had no leverage, until I decided to take the most egregious landscaper to small claims court, suing him for damages on the grounds that he was violating the noise ordinance and thereby destroying the peace and quiet to which I was entitled. The court found that the landscaper was indeed breaking the law, exposing him to whatever damages I could substantiate (pro-rated cost of home ownership, inability to work).
With that court decision in my pocket I have been able to use the very real threat of legal action against other landscapers who work nearby to persuade them to dramatically change their practices and improve their equipment. There are, in fact, commercial backpack leaf blowers available now that have a much improved sound with much lower decibel levels — it’s just a matter of convincing landscapers that it’s cheaper to make these changes than to lose in court.
A Petty Nuisance
August 5, 2013
Regulation and infringement on the individual’s rights in our small community wield both positive and negative net results. “Dark Skies” regulations make the evenings pretty but create personal safety and home security concerns for a dramatically increasing aggressive society around us. Lack of appropriate, effective policing of business practices and personal behaviors outside and around establishments such as Cyril’s on Napeague or Surf Lodge in Montauk leave the community endangered and angry. I am always surprised at what those in power will choose to go after and what issues they continue disregarding.
While turning a blind eye and deaf ear to years of outcry from the public to clean up those issues that can harm or kill, officials are now turning their attention to a petty nuisance issue which has little impact and is easily the silliest concern I have come across.
I am one of very few people in my neighborhood that will consistently mulch my woodland leaves and return them to the floor of the forest around me. I use an electric “mulching mower” to do this as the machine has no carburetor to choke and so does a splendid job making mounds of leaves disappear. The other tool I utilize for this purpose is a small powered electric leaf blower. I do not dump my leaves along the side of the road in front of someone else’s house. I do not blow my leaves onto the property of others. I do not use my tools before a respectable hour. I have always done this and will continue to do so.
As Charlton Heston once said, “You can have my leaf blower . . . when you pry it out of my cold dead hands!”
I hope that energy invested in benign concerns such as Dark Skies and leaf blowers harvests a practical and equitable outcome for all. This way, energy can be funneled to public safety.
My Rights and Yours
August 2, 2013
In any community there is a tension between the rights of one individual or group and the rights of another individual or group. Basically, my rights end where yours begin, and vice versa.
Leaf blowers and commercial helicopters have some things in common. They are dangerously loud, pollute the air, are wasteful, and unnecessary. Because something is new does not mean it is an improvement.
Quite a Gamble
August 1, 2013
West Nile Fever causes illness and death, that’s not debatable. Our current pesticide spraying has reduced the mosquito population and the AMA Journal suggests pesticide spraying to have negligible human health effects.
Suggested alternatives to our current spraying might be useful, but we don’t know them to be as effective. The danger, of course, is more disease and death from West Nile if they aren’t. Quite a gamble.
August 5, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Well, finally we are getting someplace. For several years the airport opponents had been vociferously arguing that on Jan. 1, 2015, the Town of East Hampton could regulate helicopters at the airport as it saw fit. It could simply pass a town ordinance banning helicopters, and the skies would be quiet and under local control.
Last week, in a letter to the editor, one of the attorneys for the airport opponents admitted such is not the case. They now agree with us that even if the town rejects additional Federal Aviation Administration money, federal law requires that any town regulation of helicopters must be reasonable and not unjustly distinguish between categories of aircraft such as rotary wings and airplanes.
In fact, there is no case in the country where rejecting F.A.A. money has allowed a municipality to regulate its airport as it sees fit. As we have said all along, federal law must be complied with.
The question now remains whether it is prudent to work hostilely or cooperatively with the F.A.A. to reduce helicopter noise. The opponents propose doing an end-run around the F.A.A. and see what happens when the helicopter companies sue the town, perhaps with F.A.A. assistance. The East Hampton Aviation Association says we need the F.A.A. on our side if we are to succeed in court with town measures to reduce helicopter noise. This is especially true now that the F.A.A. recently won the landmark case in federal court giving it more control than ever to reduce aircraft noise in our neighborhoods.
Nevertheless, working cooperatively in the months ahead means completing the noise studies that will show East Hampton is a relatively quiet community and that helicopters disturb that quiet more so than other types of aircraft. Why are the airport opponents opposed to these studies?
If they are serious about reducing helicopter noise in our neighborhoods and not simply trying to close the airport, they should urge the town board to finish the noise studies already begun.
East Hampton Aviation Association
Set the Record Straight
August 2, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray:
The purpose of this letter is to set the record straight in response to a letter to you from someone named Larry Marcus that appeared in last week’s edition of your newspaper regarding a lawsuit in which the town defaulted. I do not know Mr. Marcus, and his statements about my record are incorrect.
Lawsuits against the town or its boards, departments, or employees are served on the town clerk as a matter of procedural law, not the town attorney’s office. Lawsuits are then forwarded to the Office of the Town Attorney. The town attorney is responsible for assigning the matter to in-house staff or to outside counsel. The majority of lawsuits against the town are, and historically have been, handled by outside counsel who specialize in specific types of litigation.
To my recollection, the lawsuit mentioned by Mr. Marcus was served on the town clerk prior to my assignment to the zoning board on one of my first days in the town attorney’s office. There was another related case that was also served on the town clerk. This case was never assigned to me. I did not miss any deadlines for the lawsuits that were assigned to me.
Yours very truly,
Candidate for Town Justice
A Republican Primary
August 5, 2013
Where were you the week temperatures soared so high you could fry an egg on Main Street? I was out collecting signatures so the rank-and-file East Hampton registered Republican voters could go into a Republican primary on Sept. 10 and vote to put a candidate at the top of the currently vacant Republican ticket. The petition drive was a success and there will be a Republican primary.
Why did I do such a crazy thing on probably the hottest days of the year? I believed it was important to commence a grassroots effort to find a vehicle by which the electorate could express its desire to place a uniting, experienced candidate for supervisor at the top of the Republican ticket. My choice on Sept. 10 is Larry Cantwell. Of the many people with whom I spoke that week, including those 166 registered Republicans who signed my petition (205 signatures were required), very few spoke of voting for someone other than Larry Cantwell.
How will this work: On Sept. 10, Primary Day, any registered Republican in East Hampton Town can go to the polls and WRITE IN any person’s name (regardless of that person’s party affiliation), to be the Republican candidate for supervisor in November. The person with the highest number of votes wins! Simple, isn’t it?
As I stated in earlier letters to The Star, I, for one, am sick and tired of the partisan party bickering consuming our politicians in East Hampton Town. It is fortunate that in this election cycle in East Hampton’s political history there is a candidate for supervisor who has the demeanor and strength to be a uniting force. Unity is the theme of Larry’s campaign speeches and literature; and until I see something to the contrary, I believe him and want to give him a chance to prove himself as “everybody’s” town supervisor.
We, ordinary citizens of East Hampton, who happen to be registered as Republicans, some of whom are affiliated with Republican organizations, but many more who are unaffiliated, have identified the need to speak with one voice on Sept. 10 and tell Larry Cantwell and the so-called leaders of all the political committees and organizations in town that we believe in Larry’s language of conciliation and nonpartisan leadership. We need to tell Larry through the ballot box on Sept. 10 that it is his fellow citizens who want him to head our ticket — on the Republican line. In essence, the nomination comes from Republicans-the-people, and not Republicans-the-party.
Through hard work by a few on some very hot days, Republican voters have won a reprieve. We gained the opportunity to show Larry Cantwell our belief in him and his candidacy. For this to actually happen, registered Republican voters must go to the polls on Sept. 10 and join me in writing in the name L-A-R-R-Y C-A-N-T-W-E-L-L for supervisor.
Should Want the Facts
August 5, 2013
Carol Buda wrote last week to complain of rising school taxes in Springs. As the president of the Springs School Board until just a few weeks ago, when I concluded nine years of service on the board, and now a candidate for East Hampton Town Board, I feel it is appropriate that I respond.
First, I welcome her questions. As a candidate for public office, people should want to know what I did and did not do as an elected official in Springs. They should want the facts. Second, let me say that I very well understand how Carol feels about taxes; I have to pay them too. My husband, Joe, and I both work, and the tax bill is a big concern for us.
The increases in Springs School taxes over the nine years that I served have been driven primarily by an increase in student enrollment, up 22 percent from 2004 to 2013, and by a huge increase in the tuition we must pay for our students who attend East Hampton High School. From 2004 to 2013, the regular education per-student tuition rose from $14,790 to $26,067, a 76-percent increase. At the same time, we have had to contend with increased costs for employee health care and pensions and for utilities.
Enrollment is not subject to the board’s control or decision. It is a function of demographic changes to which we must respond. Neither is the tuition in East Hampton under our control. It is the result of decisions made by the East Hampton school district, where Springs residents do not have a vote.
Despite these pressures, for the two years I was president, we managed to stay under the tax-levy cap, delivering estimated tax rate increases of 2.97 percent and 1.30 percent for 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years, respectively. That has not been easy. We did it in part by carefully auditing East Hampton’s calculations, resulting in savings of $3.9 million, and by $800,000 of cuts to program.
The cuts are particularly important. Faced with a nearly $1 million shortfall in the 2012-13 budget, we listened to what the community wanted. Over the course of five budget work sessions and a community forum, the community identified those programs it valued most, as well as the programs it was willing to re-think, sacrifice, or downsize.
The budget that emerged received 76-percent voter approval (followed by 77 percent this year). School districts in New York are governed democratically.
The responsibility of an elected official, as I see it, is to enable the community to achieve its goals by providing the facts and building consensus. It is then the board’s responsibility to carefully supervise and manage the budget to that end. We did that in Springs, where we spend less per pupil than our neighboring districts with results that are as good or better.
I can appreciate that it is unwelcome for anyone to find themselves in the minority on the budget, but when the public will is expressed by a margin of more than 3:1, the decision of the overwhelming majority must govern.
The alternative to meeting rising enrollment and rising high school tuition would be dramatic cuts to the Springs education program. That is not what the people of Springs want. Educating our young people is costly. But it is our solemn responsibility to prepare our kids for the future.
Ms. Burke-Gonzalez is the Democratic and Working Families party candidate for East Hampton Town Board. Ed.
The People’s Concerns
August 5, 2013
The failures of East Hampton’s Republican administration to act on matters of public concern have confirmed what most of us already knew: Doing the public’s business well requires a commitment to responsible government and experience in getting the job done. I thought of this as I listened to thoughtful, impassioned pleas at the Democrats’ Montauk “listen-in” for action on the many issues affecting the Montauk community that the current administration has ignored.
Anxious participants at the listen-in must all have been heartened, as I was, to hear the histories and responses of the Democratic candidates for town board. Larry Cantwell’s qualifications to be supervisor are unarguable: 31 years as village administrator following experience on the planning and town boards. Kathee Burke-Gonzalez’s skillful management of a school board’s finances in troubled times is perfect preparation for the challenge of balancing repair to our town’s infrastructure with minding the taxpayers’ dollars. Job Potter served on the town board for seven years up until 2005. He specialized in affordable housing, public land acquisitions, and bringing the lessons of his experience on the planning board into town board deliberations. The candidates were forthright and unequivocal in stating they would use their experience to move strongly and affirmatively on the issues raised by the 18 speakers.
I liked Job’s emphasis on putting accumulating community preservation fund money to work both on purchases of small lots for “pocket” parks in overcrowded communities and more beach access for residents. Referring to his work creating the Accabonac houses, Job stressed that “we have to get back in that business.” And he stated emphatically that the next administration’s first order of business must be to take Fort Pond House off the market, unless our current Democratic councilpersons Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc, who have been pushing this for three years, can negotiate a third vote first.
I liked Kathee’s emphasis on the needs of children and the lost synergy of public and private partnerships to support services for them.
We need people in our government who care about all the people’s concerns and are determined and able to act on them. We have such people in Larry, Kathee, and Job. Let’s put them in office, so our town can move forward again.
Ms. Miller is a member of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Ed.
Grave and Shameful
August 5, 2013
As a long-time resident of Montauk, I was pleased to attend the forum at Gurneys Inn last week. It was well attended by the community, and many people spoke about their concerns, and most important to me, were the responses from the candidates running for office this fall.
I personally know Kathee Burke-Gonzalez and her family, but was not aware of her position on many local issues. She was well-informed, especially in the area of the withdrawal of social services by the current administration. This was addressed by Kathee as a critical problem for Montauk and East Hampton.
This current administration’s attempt to balance the budget at the expense of the vital needs of the senior citizens, children with special needs, and other needy families leaves a grave and shameful mark on our town. All of us benefit when concerns and problems are being addressed by professional help and this is especially true in the area of social services, which is a must service for any healthy community.
I know that Kathee, Job Potter, and Larry Cantwell are committed to correcting this travesty.
Ms. Smith is a member of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Ed.
C.P.F. Back to Work
August 4, 2013
Over $40 million is sitting unspent in the Community Preservation Fund bank accounts. The monthly income of the C.P.F. program is over $2 million, or $24 million per year — more than enough to put the $40 million to work, hold reserves for the fixed expenses, and keep the coffers full.
I had the good fortune to be co-liaison to the C.P.F. open space program from 1998 to 2005. Preparing for our listen-in in Montauk, I was proud to see that we protected 27 individual open-space parcels in Montauk alone during those years (28 parcels when Fort Pond House is finally taken off the market). The town partnered with Suffolk County, New York State, the federal government, conservation organizations, and private donors. We worked to bring funds into the town from our partners. The largest acquisitions included 99 acres of oceanfront at Shadmore, 123 acres at Amsterdam Beach, 115 acres of forest on Flamingo Road, and 95 acres at Laurel Canyon (Suffolk County).
During that extraordinary period, we bought 12 freshwater small wetland lots, (many before the zoning board of appeals), 31 acres of wetlands at Stepping Stones Pond, and 4 waterfront lots on Fort Pond, a critical body of water that is inexplicably being neglected by the town. Town board members worked closely with the town’s Planning and Natural Resources Departments. There’s no other way to get the job done.
Recreation is an important part of land preservation, and the town worked with partners to preserve the badly damaged gravel pit on Fort Pond Bay, which is now the beautiful 21-acre Edward Ecker Park, with its pier, development rights of the Foster horse farm, and the West Lake tennis courts. The dollar value of all these properties has easily doubled since they were bought — the true value to the public cannot be measured.
Townwide, over 120 properties were permanently protected, about 2,000 acres of forest, farmland, wetlands, beaches, and dunes. We listened to the public, and were committed to the environment. We took action, and made a difference.
Let’s get the C.P.F. program back to work at full speed, while land prices are still reasonable. What are we waiting for?
Working Families Candidate for
August 5, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray:
Let me get this straight. The Democratic Party does a radio attack ad against Dominick Stanzione for not filing his Board of Elections campaign finance filing properly, even as they themselves have not filed their East Hampton Town Democratic Committee Campaign 2013 (Campaign 2013) filing properly. I know Democrats (and in particular Chris Kelley) will find this shocking, but perjury and filing false documents with the New York State Board of Elections resulting in a Class E felony pertains to everyone, even East Hampton Democrats. I would not be happy right now if I was the treasurer for Committee 2013.
On July 18, 2013, I filed a formal complaint with the B.O.E. against Campaign 2013 for its failure to disclose in its mandated July periodic campaign finance report, any expenditures on Schedule F for the Jan. 12 to July 11 filing period. The filing’s summary page lists a $375 “expenditure” that upon closer inspection is an in-kind contribution listed on Schedule D from David Gruber for advertising radio ad production, as the committee lists it.
Indeed, Mr. Gruber’s radio ad production was put to good use by Campaign 2013 in a radio and print advertising campaign attacking Dominick Stanzione that ran on WLNG (and perhaps other radio stations) numerous times, during the months of June and July. I was particularly interested in those expenditures since the ads in question quoted me from a private e-mail I wrote to Republican committee members in 2012, that was leaked to the press. In addition, Campaign 2013 has been taking out print ads for their town board candidates, Burke-Gonzalez and Potter, in all three local newspapers, with multiple ads in the same edition. The ads, radio and print, use the tagline “Paid for by Campaign 2013.” All expenditures associated with those ads were required to have been disclosed in the committee’s July periodic report.
Now, I have no complaints with the Democratic Committee using my words since the leaker of that e-mail (conveniently for the Democrats) put the content into the public domain. But I do have a problem with the Democrats not being honest with the voters. Guys, what are you hiding? No expenditures — not a single one? C’mon, you can do better than that.
So what is going on here? Did the treasurer or someone else in Campaign 2013 incur advertising expenses and make payments to WLNG, the Press News Group, The Independent, and, of course, The East Hampton Star and are not reporting them? That wouldn’t be good for the treasurer who signed the filing. Or, perhaps, the local media are giving the Democrats a pass and are not requiring the committee to pay for those ads in advance or contemporaneously. If that is the case, then the local media have a new standard. When I was the treasurer for a local campaign two years ago, and when my husband was the treasurer for the East Hampton Town Republican Committee, we had to pay for print and radio ads in advance, or contemporaneous with their airing or going to print. Now, if there is a new and more generous standard being set by the media, I think that should publicized better. And if there is a new, more generous standard, I will surely take advantage of it, if I am ever a treasurer again for a campaign. But if there is a different standard for different political parties that just wouldn’t be fair, and that wouldn’t be good either. So, which is it?
Let me give Chris Kelley and his treasurer a little free advice (just this one time) and a lesson on campaign finance disclosure. If the local media did give the committee a pass, and no payment was made to those entities, the B.O.E. requires that any expenses incurred when a committee receives a good or service during the reporting period, and has not paid for those goods and services, must be shown on Schedule N, Outstanding Liabilities. But if payment was made to those entities, those payments must be shown on Schedule F.
Regardless of the scenarios above, the treasurer of Campaign 2013 must amend the July periodic report to disclose exactly what went on with those expenditures in order to ensure its filing is complete, accurate, and legal. Democrats shouldn’t forget that pesky little Class E felony matter they are peddling on the radio. Remember, the door swings both ways.
And while we are on the subject of Class E felonies, are there any other expenditures out there that the Democrats are not disclosing to the voters? Polls, perhaps? Just asking.
The New York Public Interest Group, Common Cause, Citizens Union and the League of Women Voters, among other good-government groups, lobbied for many years to get New York State to disclose candidate and committee campaign finances to the public. As a result of their hard work, the New York State Board of Elections Web site is a good resource for voters and reporters who want to keep tabs on who is contributing to campaigns and political committees and how those committees are spending their money. That’s why honesty and integrity are so important in these campaign finance reports. And that’s why treasurers and candidates file those reports under penalty of perjury.
Ms. Campolo is a member of the East Hampton Republican Committee. Ed.
Not the Same
July 29, 2013
Someone should tell Councilman Stanzione that filing a false “campaign finance report,” or not filing one at all, is not the same as “abstaining” from filing one. I know that “abstaining” from taking positions while on the town board has become his way of political life, but he should recognize that other people do pass laws that require even him to commit to.
Sorry Dominick, you can run, but you can’t hide.
Mr. Smith is a member of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Ed.
Never Lost Touch
August 5, 2013
Great to see the listen-in format resurrected by Larry Cantwell. Perry Duryea Jr. (Chip’s dad) started these gatherings in the first Assembly District he represented in Albany both as Speaker of the New York State Assembly and as minority leader.
Awesome leadership responsibilities, but Perry never wanted to lose touch with his district, or its people and their concerns. As his special assistant, I set these up for him in towns, villages, and hamlets throughout the First Assembly District, which then included the five East End towns and a strip of Brookhaven from Rocky Point to Mastic-Shirley.
Perry always invited local officials, whether Republican, like himself, or Democrat, to these community events to sit up front with him, to learn and listen as he did, but also to credit them for their accomplishments serving constituents. And when a family, or constituent, fell into hard luck and needed a job, Perry, again without regard to political affiliations, would try to find one for them, giving me that assignment.
When you drive through town and get pleasure and sanctuary from the tumultuous world we now live in through our vistas and open space, so much of it was preserved and acquired through Perry’s efforts. He never forgot his roots, and would walk the seashore barefoot to get the Montauk sand between his toes.
It was never about Perry, but the people and the place, and preserving the eastern end of Suffolk, for those who earned their livings on the water, for those who farmed the land and the sea, and the local business person who had the guts to take the risks in an area surrounded by ocean, bays, harbors, lakes, all subject to the whims of weather.
Moreover his handshake was his word, respected on both sides of the aisle.
So good for Larry for bringing back the idea of the Perry B. Duryea Jr. listen-ins. And like we did in the past, I hope everyone can be welcomed and can take advantage of listening in and being heard.
Tomorrow’s Another Day
July 27, 2013
To the Editor,
Dear Ms. DeWinter,
Hey there sunshine, it’s me again! Still miserable, I see. Your readers can’t help but notice that you haven’t once mentioned an encounter with a nice customer. Talk about biased reporting. Honestly, if all customers were so awful, they’d have to cook at home, wouldn’t they? Why would thousands of people wait tables if diners were consistently and relentlessly obnoxious?
Over the years diners at the restaurants I have worked at have not only been a pleasure to wait on, but have done many wonderful things for my co-workers and myself. They have taken an interest in our lives, marriages, and children. They have hired those of us who have other trades to work for them personally. They invite us to their homes for lunch, dinner, or parties, buy us theater tickets, send us on vacation, remember our birthdays, give us Christmas gifts, invite our children to play dates with their children, write letters of recommendation for our children’s college or employment applications, steer us to good doctors, donate money to fund-raisers to help pay for medical treatments for family members, even pay fully for operations and rehabilitation, and on and on.
Mostly, though, they give us a kiss and engage us in pleasant conversations about ordinary stuff: family, sports, travel, movies, gardening — whatever we find our common interests are, whether they are regulars or newcomers, which is really what makes waiting tables enjoyable — even fun.
So here’s some more advice for you. Fire your therapist and try this exercise: Write a column about all the surely many, many friendly, pleasant, well-mannered, courteous, polite, patient, understanding, easygoing, reasonable, intelligent, well-informed, generous diners you have waited on. While you risk keeling over from the shock of writing something nice and shattering your jaw when a smile breaks through, you will find that being happy and positive is healthier and feels a whole lot better than being negative and angry. We all know that it takes a thick hide to be a waiter, but you have to let the bad events roll off your back and leave them on the restaurant floor. That’s the beauty of this job — it’s not a job you take home. We don’t live with our customers. We don’t even deal with them all night — just on and off for an hour or two — and really, it’s usually just a matter of one or two irritating comments from someone. So who cares? Tomorrow’s another day.
The only bad thing I take home with me is when I mess something up. That’s what bothers me, not my customers. But I’m working on it. It seems necessary here to trot out the old truisms of the service industry for you: The customer comes first, it’s not about you, and the customer is always right even when he isn’t. So remember what your mother surely must have told you: If you haven’t got anything nice to say about someone, then don’t say anything at all, and above all count your blessings. And smile.
CHRISTINE DE PONTE
P.S. To the gentleman who was also compelled to respond to your tirade, I mean column, when calculating our earnings, you failed to realize that waiters have to tip the busser, food runner, bartender, and possibly a captain, barista, and sommelier, which means we only take home half to one-third of our tips, and that’s before taxes. And, yes, many of us are required to claim every penny we make, including cash tips.
August 5, 2013
To the Editor:
South Ferry service stinks!
The public was fed a bunch of bull at the public hearing for a rate increase. We were told they would travel across faster and have better service in general. In reality, they have still been idling across and the service stinks. Instead of shuttle service, they wait and wait in the slip to fill the boat. There was only one boat on at night on the Fourth of July and only three boats on during the day, creating long, long lines on both the North Haven and Shelter Island sides. South Ferry is getting paid more money and laughing all the way to the bank! It now costs two couples in a car $25 to ride over South Ferry’s postage-stamp size crossing. That’s ridiculous! How does this affect island businesses dependent on South Fork riders?
The politicians and the ferry companies really stuck it to the riders. Who is looking out for the public? We were told the rate increase was needed to fix bulkheads and platforms on North Haven, and to dredge the slips. Now they want the taxpayers to pay for dredging in front of their slips to the tune of $750,000. Cross Sound Ferry does its own dredging, and so did Bill Clark Sr. when he ran South Ferry. He also ran two boats at night and provided good, fast service. Next thing, they will want us to pay for their slip platforms and bulkheading. It has been a year since the rate increase and still no work has been done on these. Are they safe? How much weight can they hold? Who is inspecting this stuff for the public’s safety?
If the taxpayers are going to pay for a business expense for a private company, maybe it’s time for a bridge or at least 24-hour service. Where else in New York State do they shut down a state highway — nowhere! Think of how many man-hours it costs businesses and workers just sitting in the ferry line or in traffic because the ferry doesn’t run 24 hours a day, millions and millions of dollars because of lack of service. Ambulances with late night emergencies have to call in a ferry crew, wasting precious time. If you are taking a plane early in the morning, you have to leave the night before and rent a hotel room. This isn’t just about island residents; many, many people commute across Shelter Island and live elsewhere. The elected officials should put out a questionnaire asking residents in the whole district if they want faster, 24-hour service.
Go to the videotape on TV Channel 22 (town meeting channel) and see how we were lied to by the ferry company. Perhaps the elected officials should put up traffic cameras with clocks and vehicle counters at both South and North ferries. This way they could watch the tapes and get an accurate idea of what’s going on when the ferries ask for their rate hikes. Where are our elected officials, town board, and state and county legislators? Maybe they should rescind the rate increase for failure to uphold what the public was told.
P.S. Don’t take the bad service out on the crew members, the fault lies with the management.
Very Real Perils
July 29, 2013
As before, climate change is not being driven by carbon dioxide. Earth’s primary greenhouse gas is water vapor. Some experts credit it with as much as 95 percent of the effect. Further, CO2’s effect lessens proportionally as the concentration increases. Mayor Bloomberg is incorrect in stating that the planet’s average temperature will rise by 2 degrees+ and the sea level will rise two feet. Right now, the glaciers have stopped or almost stopped the retreat that has been going on for more than 25,000 years.
Further, CO2 has almost run its course as it adds to the Earth’s warming. That is, the increase in CO2-induced warming is not lineal. It decreases sharply as the concentration increases. No matter how much more CO2 is introduced into the environment the smaller the temperature increase. If we were to double the CO2 from current 400 parts per million to 800 p.p.m., the Earth’s average temperature would go up markedly less than 2 degrees. At that point 900 p.p.m., more CO2 will have almost no effect on climate or sea levels at all.
Now, as we and the sun are entering a period of change, there are very real perils we will face. We can reasonably expect a hurricane to drop by. Because the sun is more active it will warm Earth. Erosion will likely be the cause of major beach erosion, and measures taken already to slow erosion will result in narrower summer beaches. Main Beach, East Hampton, is narrower than when I was a kid.
Eventually we’ll need to go outside the outer bar and build a porous barrier causing most waves to break there. Going to be interesting and expensive.
The Powers That Be
August 5, 2013
Early Friday morning, July 26, 2013, I picked up The New York Times. After a perusal of articles on the front page it seemed like the American people were being assaulted by the powers that be.
One caption read “Chief Justice John Roberts Was Reshaping Secret Surveillance Court.” Ten of its 11 judges are G.O.P. appointees. They serve seven-year terms and their decisions are never reviewed. Only one side is heard and no appeal.
A week earlier we learned the F.B.I. has killed many people and is rarely convicted of a crime, again never investigated in most cases, while the C.I.A. runs rampant around the world torturing and killing whomever. The United Nations referred to this abuse many times, falling on deaf ears. A superpower out of control, operating in secrecy in fear of a whistle-blower. An obvious threat to our alleged freedom and democracy.
President Obama is searching for a candidate to lead the Federal Reserve. I was shocked by his choices, all ancient candidates, Larry Summers, Robert Rubin, Timothy Geithner, all former heads of the Treasury during the era of Alan Greenspan. Inbreeding of the worst kind known as the “money changers,” both Republican and Democrats. Ongoing oppression by the powers that be. I leave you with the question: Are we addicted to the status quo and the past even when it is killing us? We will rise again; millions of the people are demonstrating across our nation, victims of injustice.
Hang in there,
Still No Answers
July 31, 2013
I’m getting sick and tired of listening to this president, every time he gets on the TV he demoralizes this country. He just keeps pitting one against another. Opening his mouth about Trayvon Martin and not mentioning the 55 black-against-black in Chicago or the other blacks that went scot-free killing white young adults using the self-defense law is uncanny. Are these poor black children in Chicago any less of worth than Trayvon? Please don’t get me wrong. What happened to Trayvon is heartbreaking and Mr. Zimmerman should serve time for this atrocity.
Now to phony scandals, with all due respect Mr. President you promised to get to the bottom of all these scandals, now with a midterm election coming up they are phony, the only thing phony about these scandals is you. In case no one told you on the news you are Washington. Stop your criticizing, stop your blaming everyone else, as I am perfect I am king, take responsibility for your actions and the actions of your cabinet and your czars, stop jamming rules and regulations down the throats of the American people and for God’s sake keep off your plane that costs us the taxpayers a fortune and try to do your job.
Your polls are falling rapidly and now you’re back on vacation, well even at the cost of $7 million of our money it will keep you off my TV. And one other thing, phony scandals don’t come home in body bags, you and Hillary stood in front of the parents of the dead Benghazis and lied.
Since your first statement that the I.R.S. scandal was outrageous you will look into it and get answers, well you promoted the head of the I.R.S., advised her to take the Fifth, she is on a paid leave and we have no answers. Of course this goes for all the phony scandals, still no answers.
The victims of the Fort Hood massacre are still waiting for higher pay, not going to happen, but the creep who pulled the trigger is still getting his pay, up to about $300,000, where is the fairness for the Americans?
By the way Mr. President remember the woman on Staten Island you put your phony arm around telling her everything is going to be okay, well she still is not in her home. Staten Island and New Jersey are still suffering from Sandy, and Governor Christie is only interested in tourism money, not heavy real estate taxes that are killing the residents. Stronger than the storm my ass.
In God and country,
There’s a Plan
August 5, 2013
To the Editor:
It seems strange that with government shrinking faster than at any time in our history we are still debating the size of government. More than 500,000 workers have been laid off and at least one percent of G.D.P. growth has been cut off from the downsizing. Yet the debate over the size rather than the quality of government, taking the onus off performance as a standard for being re-elected, continues. If the government’s role is to solve problems, then the current institution gets a zero grade. Not only does it not solve problems but it actively works to impede and obstruct the process. Any wonder why we debate size instead of performance?
When government works, like at the end of World War II, it anticipates the return of millions of soldiers to an economy that is just coming out of the depression. It pre-empts the problem by creating the G.I. Bill and a series of economic programs that keep the war economy rolling. It sets the groundwork for the greatest period of middle-class growth in our history. There’s a plan.
In the mid-1960s we are faced with the largest college graduating classes in our history and nowhere near enough jobs. Vietnam and the draft takes up some of the slack but it is the creation of millions of jobs in the Great Society plan that solves the problem. Another plan.
In the late 1960s, anticipating the split between Russia and China, Richard Nixon opens relations with the Chinese, going against the anti-Communist position the country has always taken. Forty years later we see the benefits of good government. And a viable plan.
In the 1980s the Regan government redesigns the vision for a prosperous America. He undoes the principle of growth from the bottom up and creates trickle-down. He initiates an anti-union/worker bias. He supports short-term risk over longer-term stability. Government is now only good for an elite minority, even after the banking crash in 1990. A really onerous plan.
In 1998, Clinton abolishes Glass/Steagal in a moment of euphoric idiocy. Despite the evidence of a declining middle class he goes elitist and we have our second bank crisis in less than 10 years. Another example of horrific government. Wrongheaded plan.
Bush understood what Reagan and Clinton didn’t. He tried all the standard policies to jump-start the economy. Lower taxes, less regulation, concessions to business, two wars. Nothing worked. Intellectually challenged, but his heart was in the right place. A helpless plan.
Since the inauguration of our first black president, the government has been a mixture of racism, impotence, and nastiness. (White males with erectile dysfunction beating their wives because of their problems.) They focus on the size of government because they are advocates for the economic transformation of the past 30 years. They are the protectors of the status quo. Any program to improve the economic and social conditions of the U.S. population they are against. They may not be the reason we are in the shit but they are the reason that we can’t get out.
Their vision of the American dream is in black and white. Only they are our “white trash” and like all trash that is not recyclable they need to be disposed of.
July 29, 2013
Reading a New York Times editorial about the constant, reckless efforts of the Republican Party to eviscerate and repeal the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare), I got somewhat apoplectic over the perverted, twisted, knowingly false statements made by those pathetic idiots and felt helpless against this misuse of political rhetoric to scare, intimidate, and just plain lie.
But suddenly I felt better, all was not lost, I came away with a gem of an adjective used to describe these tactics and these Republicans: despicable, the editorial said, and despicable fits perfectly!
If you are a Republican, you should be ashamed to admit it, as your party seeks to separate itself from the wants and needs of the vast majority of the American people in an extreme, and I hope, fruitless, effort to regain power.
If it is not Obamacare, it is abortion and the invasion of a woman’s right to control her own body, or it is in Republican-controlled state legislatures passing restrictive voting rights legislation in an attempt to deny minorities the right to vote. They know their chances of electoral success ride almost solely on the backs of white voters, so they are attempting to limit the voting rights of voters other than whites. Limit voting in America, where the vote is king? Despicable. Beyond all the greatness of our country.
The gerrymandering that Republicans believe will insulate them from voter response has great limitations and will eventually backfire, but until then the adjective will remain descriptive and accurate while we seek to regain state legislative control.
Despicable they are and will remain.
RICHARD P. HIGER